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"Good night, Captain." With those three words, Spock's door slid shut, as it always did following those three words.

Jim exhaled his frustration in a long-winded sigh. "Tonight's the night," he muttered to himself as he let himself through his own door. He dropped his communicator on the desk and raked a hand through his hair. "Not going to take no for an answer. Time to take the bull by the horns."

He trudged into the bathroom, still grousing under his breath. He cut on the water and splashed his face, then studied himself in the mirror. "You're a coward, Jim Kirk," he informed his reflection. "And worse than that, you're an imposter. All mouth and no pants."

He stared at himself for a long minute, watching the water drip from his chin, then rolled his eyes at himself. "And you're a walking dictionary of worn out idioms."

He dried his face and paced back into his sleeping quarters. "How did this happen?" he asked as he fell onto his bed, staring up at the ceiling. He answered himself, "The same way it happened last night, and the night before, and the night before that… And now you're talking to yourself. I'm talking to myself. I'm not much of a conversationalist. Just shut up, Jim."

Seconds ticked by; he could hear them ticking in the antique watch on his bedside table. He imagined the seconds as little black ants, marching along a path they'd worn by marching. He wondered if ants ever wondered if there was somewhere else to march, if they thought of themselves as marching.

His mind wandered, and soon he could hear a sing-song child's voice in his head. The ants go marching one-by-one, hoorah… hoorah…

"No," he told himself, closing his eyes.

The ants go marching one-by-one, hoorah! Hoorah! The ants go marching one by one, the little one stops to suck his thumb and they all go marching down… to the ground… to get out of the rain…

He turned onto his stomach and buried his head under the pillow, hoping it would make the ants go away.

Boom boom boom… The ants go marching two by two, hoorah! Hoorah!

He groaned and rolled back out of bed (while the little one stopped to tie his shoe) and took off his own shoes. He pulled his shirt over his head (the ants go marching three-by-three. Hoorah. Hoorah!) and tossed it into the corner. He turned off the lights. The ants go marching three-by-three; the little one stops to climb a tree, and they all go marching down…. To the ground… to get out of the rain…

"At least the ants have the sense to come in out of the rain," he informed the darkness.

Boom boom boom.

The ants fell silent, and in the silence, Jim could hear Spock moving around next door. He wondered if Vulcans had any ridiculous children's songs that marched around No! No! Not marching! I didn't mean marching!

"The ants go marching four-by-four," he whisper-sang. "Hoorah. Hoorah…"

He heard a door.

"The little one stops to shut the door…"

He thought about Spock's door.

Right next door.

The boy next door.

One of the problems with automatic doors was that they were, well, automatic. It wasn't very easy to slam them shut or kick them open.

The marching ants gave way to his grandmother. When God shuts a door, He opens a window.

"You know what? This is stupid." Jim swung his feet off the bed and marched to his own door. He was going to keep marching right out of it, and right next door, and inform Spock in no uncertain terms—

His door swished open and Spock was standing there, equally bare-chested and bare-footed.

Jim's mouth dropped open, and Spock took advantage of his momentary shock by covering his mouth with a kiss that would not be ignored. Jim's knees threatened to give way as Spock released him.

"Forgive me," Spock said. "I have been intending to do that for some time. Did I interrupt you?"

Jim blinked at him. "No," he said.

"Are you certain? You appeared to be quite intent on your destination."

"Yeah… I…" Jim shook his head, a slow grin spreading across his face. "I was on my way to kick down an open door."

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